Editors Blogs

Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Men…?

Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Men…?

Harry became Sports Editor in September 2016.

As we close in on the end of the season it looks highly likely that we will be treated to an immense finale as compensation for the 2 month break from the beautiful game.

But first things first, tomorrow is possibly the biggest Fight that the UK has ever seen. Britain’s Olympic sweetheart vs the annoyingly likeable seasoned pro. You could argue that there is no loser in this contest. Both huge men and will survive defeat for different reasons. Joshua, relatively untested in his career so far and comes against the toughest challenge in the division in terms of size and ring smarts, he’s annihilated everyone else in his path so far so who could begrudge the inexperienced Watfordian a loss to the stalwart who’s only had one bad night in the past 10 years. And on the reverse, why should a 41 year old who hasn’t had a boxing match since 2015 defeat the unstoppable force that is the current IBF Champion. So to my prediction… I just can’t call it, 80% of me thinks Joshua will just be too quick for Klitschko and knock him out in devastating fashion before the 10th, but the other 20% says that it’ll be very tight and Klitschko will wear down AJ and KO him in Round 10 or 11… who knows! I think this one is gunna live up to the hype. I personally can’t hide my excitement.

AJ weighed in at 17st 12lbs which is 10 pounds heavier than Klitschko. Will that make a difference?

Okay, onto the footy, 5 games left, 4 points in it. I think it’ll go to the last day but I just can’t see Chelsea throwing it away. They’ll beat us at Goodison on Sunday and from there they’re relatively out of the woods, so for me, they just ain’t letting this slip. Tottenham’s run in is too tough and they will drop points. This means that Chelsea realistically only need 3 wins from these last 5 which won’t be easy but I fancy them for it, they’ve just been too clinical this season to not finish it off. And for my final top 4 in this order, it’ll be Chelsea, Spurs, City and Arsenal. United will falter again and Liverpool have already started throwing it away…!

In the Championship, Fulham look set for the play offs, will they be able to pull off the impossible? I don’t think so. To be honest, I can’t see them getting to Wembley. I hope I’m wrong because I would to see the Cottagers back in the big time but I reckon it’s a stretch too far this season, however, next season, I truly think they’ll be title contenders.

All our other local sides are sitting pretty in the various mid tables, unchallenging the playoffs or relegation, all apart from Dulwich Hamlet that is who face off against Bognor Regis on Monday in the Play Off Final for a place in the National League South. Good luck lads!

And a final mention to Wimbledon Men’s Hockey and Surbiton Women’s Hockey who look to regain their Premier League titles this weekend in the National Finals at Lea Valley!

Chris became Assistant Sports Editor this January.

Don’t Hassle Your Heroes by Chris Reidy

Is it any wonder professional footballers distance themselves from the general public when we see incidents such as Ross Barkley’s earlier in April?
Celebrating a 4-2 win over Champions Leicester in his home town, after probably his best performance of the season, Barkley was randomly attacked in a bar in an unprovoked assault.
Gone are the days when footballers would drink and socialise in the same bars as the general public.  As footballers became richer, they became more famous and more of a target.
Camera phones and tabloid news have thrown footballers out of pubs and streets and into VIP clubs where the chance of being seen is remote. 
The removal of footballer’s from everyday society means that when they come back in, the excitement is too much for some and when alcohol is involved, it can get messy. Troy Deeney suffered the same fate as Barkley in his home town of Birmingham in February this year after a night out with his wife and friends. 
Now our interaction with footballers is mainly on social media, where often the accounts are being run by others. And after this month’s incident, don’t expect to see one of your heroes in a bar anytime soon!

Dougie joined the team in October 2016.

Sad Sorry Sunderland by Dougie Critchley

Last night just about summed this season up for my club Sunderland. “We limited Middlesbrough to very few chances,” fantastic David excuse me if I don’t jump around celebrating the fact we limited a side who have only scored 24 goals in 34 games to a few shots. Sunderland fans are fed up with Moyes and his negativity but he honestly isn’t the problem. 

Moyes looks highly likely to leave Sunderland at the end of the season following relegation.

Moyes took over this paper thin squad three weeks before the start of the season, failed to get any big name signings and so resorted to ex MUFC players with potential. This isn’t his squad. It is a combination of over the hill and too green. John O’Shea and Wes Brown were old when we bought them six years ago, the majority of our money over the last five seasons has been spent on attacking players, Giaccherini, Lens and Johnson, two of which have left the club and one of them is in prison. 

This squad needs to go down and rebuild. You can’t play with fire for so many years and not expect to get burnt. I hate to use them as an example but look at Newcastle. We need to throw money at this squad, get rid of the dead wood and go with youth and championship experience. The only issue will be getting rid of some of the squad. Except for Pickford and Defoe I don’t see any Premier League clubs getting too excited about the cut price bargains available at Sunderland. It’ll be more like a DFS mega clearance, everything must go!

Henners joined the Sports Team in Summer 2016

ICC Champions Trophy Preview by Henry Thomas-Aldridge

The England squad has been announced for the ICC Champions Trophy, which is being hosted in England in June, does not contain any surprise last-minute inclusions. Some thought that Liam Livingstone’s spirited performances in the County Championship so far this season might have seen him receive a call up however, despite this, England still have a strong team. Since the last One Day International tournament in 2015, England have become far more dynamic and attacking, playing some very impressive cricket. England crashed out in the group stages two years ago but this fall from grace led to a mass shake-up in the England set-up. Andrew Strauss has become the Director of Cricket and has moved England’s one day squads into the modern era with England finishing runners-up at last year’s Twenty20 World Cup, only losing due to the brilliant Carlos Brathwaite smashing 4 consecutive sixes in the final over to snatch the victory. This blog will look mainly at the bowlers included and excluded from the squad as there are no real surprises with the batsmen chosen.

Mark Wood is back in the England setup after an unfortunate injury layoff.

I am very pleased to see Mark Wood, David Willey and Liam Plunkett in the squad as they are all returning from injuries. Since 2015, all three of these bowlers have shown glimpses of world-class cricket however will have to become more consistent to achieve that tag full-time over the next few years. Willey should prosper in the English conditions, especially with a swinging new ball and Wood’s sheer pace gives England another dimension for the bowling attack as ex-England batsman, Nasser Hussain, has labelled Wood as England’s ‘trump card’.

For our local cricket grounds, Middlesex and Surrey both have players in the squad but a few young players will also feel aggrieved and will have to wait until later this year to earn their debuts. Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy represent Middlesex and Surrey respectively however Surrey’s Tom Curran and Lancashire’s Livingstone will have to wait for the end of the season fixtures for when senior players are rested. Steven Finn is also left out of the squad as Jake Ball has moved above him in the pecking order as the selectors believed Ball to have better variation when bowling.

Because of England’s spectacular form following the 2015 World Cup, I have high hopes and expectations for this squad and believe that England can reach the final. We have the players, who have all shown why England can be the best in the World in this format, but one area the team does have to work on is its consistency and patience when the flow of the game is not favourable. When we are not taking wickets, we revert back to the England of old, if England keep their composure and continue with their dynamic, attacking cricket then I firmly believe they will fulfil their potential.

England squad for Champions Trophy and South Africa series: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

Phil joined the Sports Team in September 2016.

A Heavy. Wait. by Phil Aizlewood

I’ll admit it. I’m one of your classic big-fight Facebook fans. I really don’t care about boxing at ANY other time other than when these huge Heavyweight clashes rumble along. In my defence, I don’t pretend to know much about it, other than they both look ‘pretty hard’ & that they’re both about 8 ft 11”. Other than that, I will enjoy the spectacle as fraudulently as the next person, shouting at my screen supporting the British one. Now, I’m told that this is the fight that the division “needs” & Mr. Joshua is fast becoming the Usain Bolt of Boxing. All of this is great but with my 30’s cynicism [yes, you heard right], I still can’t quite believe that a sport involving battering a skull ’til a human being is knocked-out, has survived the scrutiny of righteousness these past.. 30 years. Don’t get me wrong, I know that money talks and everyone loves a scrap, it’s just a bit juxtaposed when you consider the concussion rules that have evolved in NFL & rugby union in recent times. Anywho, all the best to the both of them on Saturday night – at least Wembley is being utilised in a more befitting way & my Rocky Boxset will at last be dusted off next week..

Nemanja Matic celebrates after scoring an absolute screamer in the FA Cup semi final against Spurs last weekend.

TALKING of Wembley, there were of course two sizzling FA Cup semis last weekend & for once, I feel our National Stadium did itself justice! I do love how boxing terminology can be easily transposed when it comes to big games in football – the way Spurs “jabbed away” all match, controlling the tempo but were ultimately “floored” by some “sucker-punches” from Chelsea & Matic’s “Southpaw-smash”. Likewise, it seemed Arsenal were “on the ropes” after Sergio’s opener but they “beat the count” and went “the full 12 rounds”, doing a proper Balboa and defying the odds that were stacked against them. They ended up being two genuinely titanic tussles, something to consolidate the resurgence of the world’s oldest cup competition, in a season where the non-league teams, like our local Sutton United, quite rightly hogged the limelight. A London ‘derby’ now awaits, The Reds vs Blues in a game riddled with sub-stories & undertones – will the new kid on the block assert his new dominance [Conte/Joshua], or will the wily old master [Wenger/Klitschko] remind everyone he’s still got some gas left in the tank..? In spite of the arena, I can’t wait for the bell to go – will Özil “throw in the towel” if things aren’t going his way? Will Diego Costa do his best Mike Tyson impression? Will Hazard fly like a butterfly? Will Sanchez sting like a bee? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

One thing that is UNquestionable, is the deserving nature of the two PFA Award Winners for 2016/17 –  N’Golo Kanté & young Dele Alli. Two masters at work, mopping & wrapping things up  in equal measure with consummate ease & minimal fuss. Both players have been top-class for a full 18 months now and whatever happens in this now [sort of, thanks to the magic of Eriksen] tense title-race, it can only be good for the game that a defensive midfielder is getting so many plaudits and mass-media coverage. Children need to know that style & step-overs can be no replacement for commitment & concentration, and Kanté – as I mentioned before in a previous piece [smug here], is a new-age player: an athlete first & a footballer second. For English football, Dele seems a Godsend, a cool-kid with cheeky snarl & canny knack of gliding into the box like Frank Lampard Jr. did for a good 20 years. If we can keep him close to Harry Kane for club & country, both should reap the rewards for the next decade at least. Señor Pochettino worked wonders at Southampton & has done likewise at Spurs – it seems almost, almost, the heavy wait for success at White Hart Lane is over..

Spurs celebrate after beating Palace on Monday. Phil thinks that they’ll do the impossible and win the title this season. Do you agree? Tweet us @WRSportOfficial.

Which leads me nicely to my ‘conclusion’, as this tumultuous season draws to a close. Will Chelsea hang on? Will Spurs knick it in the final round, on points..? At this stage, I truly can’t call it. There will no doubt be some bruised lips and some cuts to the eye-brow as teams all attempt to scramble to safety or silverware – but one thing is for certain. It’s worth a bet or two. So I’m going  to go with Spurs for the Premier League title – making it 5 different winners in 5 consecutive seasons – & Arsenal to win their record 13th FA Cup and give Arsene his swansong. If you don’t agree or fancy a flutter, get in touch with @joey7barton – he’s got a bit of free time in front of him and apparently knows what he’s doing..

P.S. No lie, ‘Eye of The Tiger’ just came onto the radio.

April 28th, 2017

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